In Catalonia: A Spanish Tiananmen Square? by Justin Raimondo

All those who want to start breaking the grip of evil, centralized governments should be rooting for Catalonia in its standoff with Spain. From Justin Raimondo at antiwar.com:

Spain and the Catalonians are headed for a violent confrontation

One of those crises that no one saw coming is about to rear its head in a very unlikely locale: Catalonia, Spain’s richest province, where the local government has scheduled an independence referendum on October 1.  Of course, some observers – e,g, Julian Assange – did see it coming, but the current trend to find “fascists” under every bed in America may have obscured our ability to detect them where they really live – in Madrid, where the federal authorities are threatening to arrest Catalonian politicians who advocate independence.

Madrid has mobilized 4,000 police to stop the referendum. They are seizingelection materials, shutting down web sites, and invading the offices of newspapers: they have threatened 700 pro-independence mayors with arrest and prosecution.

The Spanish position – upheld by the country’s Constitutional Court – is that only the federal authorities can call a referendum, and that in any case all Spanish voters, not just those resident in Catalonia, must be allowed to vote on the question of Catalonian independence. So much for the right of self-determination.

Catalonia has long been a cash cow for the Madrid regime: the province is by far the richest in the country, and contributes much more to the national budget than it receives. With 16 percent of Spain’s population, the region produces 25 percent of the nation’s exports, hosts 23 percent of industry – and receives 11 percent of government expenditures. This essentially parasitic relationship perhaps accounts for the fierce resistance to the secession movement by the rather shaky regime of conservative Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy.

Madrid’s hard-line stance is rather shortsighted when one looks at the matter in purely economic terms. Spain has been skirting insolvency for quite some time now, and the federal authorities have been counting on Catalonia’s contribution to the national GDP – which amounts to 19 percent — to pay the interest on the debt. With Spain having only partially recovered from the economic downturn of 2008, the loss of Catalonia would be a hard blow to Madrid – and yet the policy of confrontation pursued by the shortsighted central authorities promises to make the blow all the harder.

To continue reading: In Catalonia: A Spanish Tiananmen Square?

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